Sunday, September 22, 2013

Championship Event Recap

$3300 + $200 Championship Deep Stack Double Play NLH 

One of the most educated final tables in WPT history came down to two lawyers battling for the WPT title.  And when the final verdict came in, Anthony Zinno (Cranston, RI) is "guilty" of beating Vanessa Selbst (Las Vegas, NV) heads up to win the Borgata Poker Open Championship Event.

On the final hand, Zinno's A♣ 6 holds against K♠ 10♣ to win the tournament and the $825,099 first place prize.

"The money hasn't sunk in yet," said Zinno in front of his rowdy rail at his home casino. "The title means a tremenous amount. I get to play in that $25,000 (WPT World) Championship, that's big enough as it is. The fact that I'm now a WPT Champion, it's a dream come true for any poker player."

For Selbst it was another close call in becoming the first woman to win a WPT televised open event.

"I was fortune just to get to heads up and I had a shot at it," said Selbst, who was playing in her second WPT final table after a third place finish in 2011. "I'm sure I'll be back again and close it out next time," and added, "$490k is a nice consolation prize."

The TV final table of six players began with the three short stacks going out first.

Chip leader Cong "Andy" Pham (Naples, FL) spiked an Ace on the river with AK against the pocket Jacks of  Eric Fields (Greensboro, NC) to send the shortest stack out first. Pham, who was the chip leader after Days 1A, Day 3 and Day 4, hit the 20 million chip mark and had more than half the chips in play.

The remaining players chipped away at Pham, including Jeremy Kottler (Los Angeles, CA), who doubled-up through Pham with AK against AQ. Kottler's new life continued when he knocked out David Randall (Westerville, OH), the second shortest returning stack, in 5th place. Kottler flopped an Ace against Randall's pocket Jacks. 

The final four players, Kottler, Selbst, Cong and Zinno, tightened up after Selbst doubled through Cong when the river double-paired the board to counterfit Cong's pair of 9s.  After the hand, Kottler held the lead as all four players ranged from 11 million to 7 million chips.

"That Hurt," said Cong, "If I win that I'm in great shape."

Kottler's chip lead and momentum is short lived when he sent a double-up to Cong with AJ vs AK that left him with less than 3 million before being eliminated by Selbst in fourth place.

"I still don't know (if it was mistake)," said Kottler about the hand with Cong. "It was a button vs small blind situation and he's a very aggressive player, so I just don't know," he said. Kottler was the third straight elimination in order of returning stack size from the bottom, up.

After Zinno and Selbst traded double-ups, Selbst had the chip lead over Zinno and Cong who were even in chips. And when Zinno knocked out Cong in third place with AK against AQ, Zinno was just behind Selbst when the two squared off.

"Heads up play, when you're looking at 30 or 40 big blinds, it's quite card dependent," said Zinno. "Vanessa is one of the best no limit hold'em tournament players in the world, but I happen to have been playing a lot of heads up poker these last few months. So my comfort level there is through the roof."

Selbst built a 2 to 1 chip lead, but Zinno flipped the script when his A-10 held against A-8 and faded a river flush draw.

"Unfortunately cards just don't go your way sometimes," said Selbst, who now has nearly $8 million in career tournament earnings. "I ran good to get to heads up. I was all in with the worst hand and got lucky to survive. I don't really have regrets."

Shortly after Zinno doubled-up he won the tournament with A-6.

The fifth largest field in WPT history began with 1,189 entries and featured two starting days. Pham picked up a $5,000 bonus for being the Day 1A chip leader, while Paul Volpe (West Chester, PA), who finished 39th, earned the prize for Day 1B.

Pham was literally one of the big stacks the entire tournament, while Zinno and Selbst maintained healthy stacks as well.

The bubble broke on Day 3 with little drama as 110 players earned at least a $7,123 min cash, while the start of the big money was handed out the following day.  A couple of Borgata regulars had strong routing sections on Day 4 in Alex Rocha (S. Setauket, NY) and Dan Howe (Brigantine, NJ), but they missed making the final TV table.

Rocha bubbled the final table of 10 and earned $45,278 for 11th place, while Howe bubbled the TV final table by going out 7th for $132,615.

The rest of the final table included Richard Tatalovich (8th), Cliff Josephy (9th) and Tyler Gaston (10th).

The list of players who grabbed a piece of the $3,923,700 total buy-in included:

23rd Matt Glantz (Former Borgata Event Winner)
27th Leonardo Palermo (27th Borgata cash)
28th Ian Palomo (20th Borgata cash)
42nd Alex Queen (Two time Borgata Trophy holder) 
46th Matt Salsberg (reigning WPT Player of the Year)
47th Bobby Oboodi (2011 WPT Borgata Poker Open Champion)
59th Jonathan Little (2 time WPT Champion)
60th Dan Buzgon (28th Borgata cash)
63rd Allen Kessler (3 time Borgata Trophy holder)
68th Ryan Riess (2013 November Niner)
78th Eric Baldwin (WSOP bracelet)
80th Victor Ramdin (83rd lifetime cash)

When the field was thinned to Zinno and Selbst, they could have just as easily squared off in a courtroom.  Zinno earned his law degree and passed the Massachusetts bar exam, while Selbst has her law degree from Yale University.

"This will literally change my life in the sense that I can spend time with people again," said Zinno who made a full time committment to poker two years ago and has been consumed by the game. "I knew it (big break through) would eventually come, but didn't think it would come yet, so in that sense it hasn't sunk in yet."

Final Table Results


1st Anthony Zinno (Cranston, RI) $825,099
2nd Vanessa Selbst (Las Vegas, NV) $492,569
3rd Cong "Andy" Pham (Naples, FL) $301,225
4th Jeremy Kottler (Los Angeles, CA) $251,968
5th David Randall (Westerville, OH) $208,394
6th Eric Fields (Greensboro, NC) $168,610
7th Dan Howe (Brigantine, NJ) $132,615
8th Richard Tatalovich (Scottsdale, AZ) $98,514
9th Cliff Josephy (Muttontown, NY) $69,528
10th Tyler Gaston (Westerville, OH) $45,278


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